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Innocent spouse (relief from joint tax liability)

If you filed a joint return, you may qualify for relief from some or all of a tax bill issued to you and your spouse (or former spouse) if you meet the following conditions:

  • there is an understatement of tax on a joint return because of an omission or error involving income, deduction, credit or basis,
  • you can show that when you signed the return you did not know and had no reason to know that it understated the amount of tax due, and
  • taking into account all the facts and circumstances, it would be unfair to hold you liable for the understated tax.

For a bill issued for tax years 1999 or later

There are three types of relief available to you: innocent spouse relief, separation of liability, and equitable relief. See Form IT-285, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief (and Separation of Liability and Equitable Relief) and its Instructions, for the qualifying criteria for each type of relief and to apply for relief.

For a bill issued for tax years before 1999

To request innocent spouse relief for these tax years, you may file Form IT-285 or submit a statement with supporting documentation showing why you believe you qualify. Send your Form IT-285 or statement with supporting documentation to:

NYS TAX DEPARTMENT
PROTEST CORRESPONDENCE UNIT
W A HARRIMAN CAMPUS
ALBANY, NY 12227-5120

For more information see:

Publication 89, Innocent Spouse Relief (And Separation of Liability and Equitable Relief)

IRS - Tax Information for Innocent Spouses

Updated: